SAGINAW (WWJ/AP) – Saginaw County sheriff’s officials and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service searched by horseback and air this week for a pack of dogs running wild.

The pack, which has been seen roaming around a southwest Saginaw neighborhood, attacked a 65-pound domestic dog on Saturday that died from its injuries.

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The sheriff’s department says the pack is believed to include seven to 12 dogs, at least two of which are adults.

Sheriff’s Lt. Randy Pfau said the dogs weren’t found during a three-and-a half-hour hunt Wednesday, but tracks and interviews with area residents suggest the animals were there recently.

“We did find a lot of evidence that support that there are large dogs out there,” Pfau told The Saginaw News. “We have eight traps spread out over two miles.”

The sheriff’s department said the dogs pose a public health threat and could harm people.

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As a plane buzzed through the air above the search party, deputies in cowboy hats, with spurs attached to cowboy boots, took up vantage points. The group is known as the Saginaw County Sheriff’s Posse and offers more versatility than a motorized ground search.

“A motor can startle them,” said Lt. Stephen Gromak, commander of the Sheriff’s Posse. “But an animal is likely to walk up closer to another animal. We can also go up and down hills and through trees and brush.”

The area, near the Green Point Nature Center, was home to the Saginaw Malleable Iron Plant before the structure was razed in 2010. Authorities joined the search to assist Saginaw County Animal Control and they suspect the dogs have made their home in the area.

Elaine Thompson, interim director for Saginaw County Animal Control, said the dogs may have adapted to their surroundings and are now raising young.

“Probably someone abandoned them instead of bringing them to a shelter,” Thompson said. “They learned to survive off small game and the water.”

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